Wednesday 16 October 2019

'This is unique' - Eddie O'Sullivan doesn't feel Joe Schmidt's departure announcement will diminish his authority

Joe Schmidt
Joe Schmidt

Cormac Byrne

There are numerous examples of a drop-off in standards occurring after a coach announces his intention to leave but former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan can't see that happening to Joe Schmidt.

As expected, Schmidt announced that he will leave his current post at the end of next year's World Cup in Japan with current defence coach Andy Farrell taking over for the following four-year World Cup cycle.

The Kiwi will finish coaching to focus on family commitments.

Asked whether Schmidt's authority could be diminished by the news, O'Sullivan told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One: "You would think that was a possibility in most circumstances, that if a coach is on his way out the door that it does make a difference but I think where we are at the moment is pretty unique

"We've set ourselves up in a place where we're going to a Rugby World Cup with a genuine chance of possibly winning it. Everyone will focus on that and it will be a great stepping off point for Joe if we have a huge World Cup.

"I don't think anyone is going to let the fact that he's leaving impact on the way we go about our business between now and then.

"I think everyone expected he was going, so it was half-known. Nothing will be different."

O'Sullivan was complimentary of the way the announcement was handled by both the IRFU and Schmidt.

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"The timing is perfect. He probably knew at least four weeks ago, before the autumn (internationals), what he was going to do but it would have been a really bad time to announce he's leaving," he added.

"It's been a hugely successful year, the most successful in the history of Irish rugby, he's announced it now so we have two months before the Six Nations to let it boil down to focus on the Six Nations and the World Cup.

"We know his replacement so we don't have the speculation about what happens after the World Cup.

"This has been a really smart way to manage this whole progression.

"It's all set-up very well."

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